27 missing children have been rescued following a five-day effort called “Operation Find Our Children” in Virginia.
On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that special agents, U.S. Marshals, and police took part in the operation with the Virginia Department of Social Services employees.
Six children who were previously reported missing were in the custody of their legal guardian, according to law enforcement officials.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement:
“The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable children in our society, and ‘Operation Find Our Children’ does just that.”
“While this Virginia operation is the most recent recovery of endangered and missing children led by the U.S. Marshals Service this year, we have also recovered more than 440 kids in Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana, and other states. Because of this initiative, the recovered children are now out of harm’s way,” Rosen added.
According to the DOJ, the U.S. Marshals Service has taken part in a large effort to find and rescue missing and exploited children.
75% of reported missing children have been found by the agency over the past 5 years. 72% of those children were recovered within a week.
“I can think of no more critical or satisfying mission for a law enforcement officer than rescuing an endangered child,” U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia Nick E. Proffitt said.
“I am proud of the Deputy Marshals in the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and their partners for the work they accomplished this week.”
“And the results speak for themselves; these 27 children are safe once again,” Proffitt added.
“We want the missing children across this great nation to know the U.S. Marshals Service will never stop looking for you; we will find you.”
The news comes a week after a massive human trafficking bust saw 45 missing children rescued and 179 arrests in Ohio.
The operation, dubbed Autumn Hope, saw the US Marshals Service track down trafficked children.
The operation was conducted by the marshals in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and state and local agencies in Ohio.